The Rainbow’s Message



As Arnie’s ashes were being spread at the Pennsylvania golf course where he grew up, a rainbow appeared in the sky (above). To me, it was a promise from the Heavens, an assurance that decency will triumph over villainy after all.

For Arnold Palmer was not just a great golfer. He was also a decent human being.

arnieAnd I find it encouraging that Arnie was one of the most admired men to grace this planet.

He was also one of the most admirable. He treated all with respect. He was modest and unassuming despite his great fame and enormous wealth. He took care to obey society’s rules of the road.

At the Ryder Cup this morning, thousands are wearing “Arnie’s Army” buttons, and the competing US golfers display his favorite lapel pin on their collars. While I was watching the event on TV, the massive Ryder Cup crowd chanted his name in unison.

It is this vast reservoir not just of admiration but of love that gives the rainbow its message of hope. A message Americans – and the world – desperately need at this time.

For Arnie presents a stark contrast to wretches like Donald Trump, who incite hatred and spite, who game the system relentlessly, who lie and cheat and wallow in the mud.

devilHe presents a contrast to people who think it’s smart to chisel on their taxes, welch on their commitments, sneer at decency and treat others with contempt and ridicule.

When I see the crowds on TV cheering Trump, obviously enamored of his vile message, I am tempted to despair.

Trump is not the first of his monstrous breed. Throughout history, the Evil One has risen in various incarnations to exalt all that is base in mankind. And he probably will not be the last.

How can such despicable creatures inspire such veneration, such love? Is this what we humans are like, after all?

But then I remember Arnie and the great love he inspired. And I see a rainbow in the sky.

Arnie’s rainbow

Arnie’s life


What We Don’t Know



mobI don’t think the millions who watched Monday night’s presidential debate learned much that they didn’t already know. Everyone knew going in that Donald Trump is a rude, ignorant oaf. Everyone already knew, too, that Hillary Clinton is a rock-steady, whip-smart public servant with encyclopedic knowledge.

What we may not have known – and did not learn – is what hidden interests they might represent.

There’s all kinds of information available about Hillary – some of it reliable, some not so much. Anyone with a computer or a smart phone can figure out for themselves whether she’s on our side or not.

I am confident that Hillary is on my side. Yes, she has ties to Wall Street and hobnobs with billionaires. But her life story is one of service to humanity (in spite of those absurd propaganda books that depict her as some kind of criminal – example at right).hillary_cover

What Trump is up to, I can only guess. But I am convinced he is up to no good.

There is ample evidence that he is a fraud who reneges on his debts and cheats business associates. And his “charitable” foundation has been exposed as a money-making sham.

There is also his frightening alliance with the white supremacist movement.

But I wonder whether he is even more dangerous than that.

I have read credible reports that he worked with members of the Mafia in his Manhattan real estate projects, and that he has borrowed money from Russian and Ukrainian underworld characters.

And I understand at least two of his surrogates – Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie – have family members known to be in the Mob.

Could Trump be fronting for a criminal organization? Could he represent interests that present a grave threat to the American people?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Instead of digging up this kind of information, the talking heads on TV are agog over his crude insults to women and his uncouth personal behavior. And as reprehensible as that might be, I shudder to think of what else might be lurking in the shadows.

About Trump and the mob

About Giuliani and Christie


Musings on the Great Debate



Let’s get the who-won-who-lost nonsense out of the way first. Smilin’ Hillary won. Snifflin’ Trump lost. And Hillary’s adroit, energetic – even powerful – performance must surely have laid to rest all those whispers about her health.

But Trump scored a point or two before he crumbled in a heap of pouting petulance.

How he scored those points is discouragingly ironic.

Trump swept through the Republican primaries on a wave of public frustration generated by a do-nothing Congress and the prevailing perception that America’s politicians are in it for themselves, not the people they are elected to serve.

He mobilized the Republican base by exposing the party brass as an entrenched elite who grind their axes at their country’s expense.

Yet in last night’s debate, he was able to make it sound as if Hillary and the Democrats were to blame for decades of government shortcomings.

He reiterated that Hillary has had a 30-year political career in which to make things better. He argued that her plans for economic and social reform now were “just words.”

Hillary could have explained that it was the Republican Party that has blocked attempts at  progress for the past 30 years (and more).

President Obama has been trying for ages to get an infrastructure rebuilding bill through a Republican Congress, for example. And guess what. Both Trump and Hillary are proposing an infrastructure rebuilding program as a way to create jobs!

The blame for America’s disappointing trade deals – and the resulting loss of manufacturing jobs – is a little harder to pin down. What nobody observed last night is that while those global trade agreements shipped jobs abroad, they produced jobs at home. And American companies benefited from export opportunities created by the trade deals. Surely, Trump’s trickle-down party should be happy about that?

The real Gordian knot is the fact that the jobs produced by trade deals are seldom accessible to the workers who see their jobs vanish. A laid-off Michigan factory worker isn’t likely to get a job as a software developer in California or a shipping clerk in New Jersey.

In a global economy, the government has to step in to make sure those who lose their jobs get retrained for better jobs. And the government has to make sure the better jobs are there. If the private sector doesn’t generate them, then the government must provide them.

Hillary has programs on her web site to address this challenge – job retraining, free community college, public investment in alternative energy, and so on.

It’s the Republican Party that stands in the way of such programs. It’s the Republican Party that has resolutely blocked reforms proposed by people like Hillary for the past 30 years.

Somebody should have pointed that out last night. Maybe next time.

Debate highlights

Setting the record straight


A Really, Really Big Show!



I suppose it was inevitable that the medium would – as Marshall McLuhan observed a long time ago – become the message. And that is just what has happened to American democracy. It has become a carnival… a traveling road show… a latter-day chiaroscuro.

There is no message to be found in this presidential campaign, just quips and barbs, and hints of dark, menacing drama – made for TV.

Yes, there are some broad promises of a better tomorrow, but any credible explanation of how this is to be brought about has been lost in the glitz and hype.

This campaign is focused entirely on “the Show.”

For example, tomorrow night’s debate is being promoted like a professional wrestling event.

“Head to head for the first time!” screams an ad for CNN’s broadcast.

“Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off,” a political web site advises.

“Clinton, Trump prepare to battle,” ABC-TV exults.

The debate itself is overshadowed by the antics of various “celebrities” who have been invited to attend or who have chimed in with comments and suggested questions.

And the celebrities involved don’t just include Stephen Colbert, Jane Fonda, Stephen King, and so on…

genniferThe breathless media is reporting that Mark Cuban, the billionaire entrepreneur, Dallas Mavericks owner and reality TV star, will sit in the front row. And – even better! – Gennifer Flowers has vowed to sit next to him as payback!

As you probably know by now, Mark Cuban is Trump’s sworn enemy and Gennifer Flowers is a devoted Trump supporter.

Is that great TV or what?

You know who Gennifer Flowers is, don’t you? Two decades ago, she proclaimed to the world that she was once Bill Clinton’s mistress and has since become a Penthouse Magazine model and one of TV’s favorite guest celebrities.

Yes, that Gennifer Flowers (photo above).

Is this is what the world’s leading democracy has come to? Lord, give me strength!

More on Cuban

More on Flowers

More on McLuhan’s book 


Now, Hillary’s Eye is “Crazy”?



What will they think of next? The vast right-wing noise machine has come up with a new scandal. It involves Hillary’s eye. The left one. Apparently it’s “crazy,” and that’s a likely symptom of a grave medical condition, don’t you know?

I learned of this new theory thanks to my nephew Chris, who sent me a link to a web site called Information Liberation. An article on the site (by someone named Chris Menahan) quotes  “general surgeon John R. Coppedge, MD, FACS.” The “general surgeon” (not be confused with the surgeon general) sounds an urgent alarm about Hillary’s left eye.

crazyIt is illustrated by pictures (photo shopped?) showing Hillary looking cross-eyed. And it is replete with scholarly sounding references to “the left sixth cranial nerve,”  “the lateral rectus muscle,” “an intermittent lateral rectus palsy,” and so on.

The “general surgeon” surmises that the likely cause of the problem is “a transverse sinus thrombosis” and he warns that Hillary’s life could be in grave danger. (Obviously, she shouldn’t be elected President if she could drop dead at any moment. Right?)

I am not a “general surgeon” (whatever that may be). I am not even an ophthalmologist. But I know something about crazy eyes. You see, I happen to have a similar problem. One eye – the left – tends to stray. You could (if you were mean enough) call it a “crazy eye.”

It also makes me see double, especially when I’m tired. So the eye doctor put a prism in one lens of my glasses to correct the problem.

But it has nothing to do with “a transverse sinus thrombosis.”  Some years ago, the retinas in both eyes spontaneously separated, and the left retina was torn. I have no idea what caused it, but it took several operations to get me seeing again. I imagine that might have something to do with the straying left eye.

Anyway, I’ve suffered from this condition for many years – long enough to serve a couple of terms as President if I had to – and I’m still breathing.

So I doubt there’s anything to worry voters if Hillary’s left eye really does wander. The important thing – to me anyway – is that she has a good brain and a good heart, which is a lot more than I can say for her opponent.

Click for the crazy article.


For Starters, Release the Video



There are no easy solutions to America’s racial hostility. The problem is too complex, too stubborn. But something has to be done. And the sooner we get started the better.

It is simply intolerable for law officers to gun down unarmed black men with little or no justification. This is a national emergency.

There are some things that can be done now to ease the tension. To me, one of the most obvious examples at this time is release of that North Carolina video.

Let the whole world see what happened – or as much of what happened as possible.

Calling out the National Guard and imposing a curfew in Charlotte are counter-productive. Tanks do not belong on the streets of an American city. This is not China.

The protests might be suppressed, but the resentment will only be intensified.

There’s a long history behind the profiling and fear that trigger police shootings. Basically, it stems from a culture that has demonized the black male, portraying him as a monster to be feared and shunned.  That is not only egregiously unjust but tragically misguided.

I don’t think committees or task forces will come up with permanent answers. They might produce some temporary salve to maintain a fragile peace. But old wounds will still fester. A cure must come from the deepest roots of American society, and from the American people themselves.

Coming to America from Canada and Jamaica, I think I can identify one glaring cause of the racial divide – unfamiliarity.

I was amazed to find, for example, that there are “black” and “white” churches in America! And while residential areas and schools are supposedly integrated, the races do not intermingle as much as I am used to seeing.

There are few black families in white neighborhoods – and vice versa. In the schools, black and white children tend to form separate groups. Even the teachers often tend to socialize along racial lines.

This is a natural instinct. And it is not peculiarly American.

In Toronto, I saw the Italians, the Chinese, the Ukrainians and so on taking over different neighborhoods. The city is more of a mosaic than a melting pot.

But the separation seems more rigid in America.

I don’t think this can ever be a peaceful society as long as different ethnic groups view each other from a distance. There must be day-to-day interaction and cooperation..

How do “the powers that be” make this happen? I really don’t know, but I know they are going to have to find out. And fast.

(In the photo above, protesters are shown blocking the road in front of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. last night.)

Click for the Charlotte protests.


I Would Not Debate Trump


If I were in Hillary’s place I would refuse to debate Donald Trump. He is not a serious candidate for President and he will probably make her look ridiculous – or worse.

After all, if a pig challenged me to a mud wrestling contest, would I accept? Of course not!

There’s no way I could emerge from it looking good. Both of us would be covered in slime.

Trump has no regard for facts or the truth. He has no ethics, no principles, no limits. He will say anything – however absurd – and blithely contradict it the next second. How do you look serious debating someone like that?

I would issue an invitation to Gary Johnson and Jill Stein and get one of the networks to sponsor a debate with them. No Trump.

This entire presidential campaign has been a lie because it presents Trump as a legitimate candidate when he is so obviously nothing of the sort. He is a liar and a rogue. He associates with he scum of the earth. Everything he does or says is fraudulent.

The media have betrayed the American people by providing him with millions of dollars worth of free publicity. And the media have exaggerated everything negative they can dig up about the Clintons, even accusations that were debunked ages ago.

With the incessant beat of Trump, Trump, Trump on the airwaves, it’s a miracle that Hillary’s poll numbers match his. He must surely have more name recognition today than anyone else in the world.

By attempting to engage this charlatan in serious debate, Hillary will be climbing into the mud pit with him. And that’s his natural home.

Hillary has any number of reasons to reject the debates. She could say, for example, that she will not debate him until he releases his tax returns. And I suspect he can’t do that and stay out of prison.

Of course there would be a price to pay for refusing to debate Trump. But I fear the cost of debating him could far exceed the cost of refusing to debate him.

Debate preview


A Question of Race

trump-pepeOne of the principal driving forces behind the Trump phenomenon has been exposed for what it is – the fear that some ethnically European Americans have of losing their privileged place in society. This is not just an American phenomenon; it is occurring throughout the western world.

In the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, western nations colonized vast areas of the globe, and western traders plundered the wealth of the colonized countries.

Through the horror of slavery, western oligarchs stole even the people from other lands and forced them to work for nothing under unspeakably wretched conditions.

Somehow, this barbarous behavior created a culture in which the offenders were held in high esteem and the victims were held in contempt.

In science, a bogus discipline called eugenics emerged to justify the perverse notion of “white superiority.” It seeks to show that “white” people inherit “superior” genes to non-whites.

To their credit, the majority of white Americans and Europeans have come to recognize the need for cultural reform. And over the decades, American and European societies have evolved into a more rational acceptance of diversity.

But not everyone in these predominantly white cultures welcomed the change. Some people resent it and even actively oppose it.

Such a group is America’s Alt Right, which has repeatedly expressed support for the Trump candidacy.

They may be masquerading under a different name, but this is still just a gray-flannel-suit version of movements like the KKK and neo-Nazis, which have lurked in the shadows of American politics for generations.

They don’t use the traditional terms associated with “white supremacy.” Eugenics has become “human biodiversity,” and a white supremacist is now an “identitarian.” But the underlying principles are the same.

Trump has recruited an Alt Right leader as his “campaign CEO,” and the group recently reiterated its support for Trump in a Washington DC news conference.(Trump has not rejected their support. Far from it. See his tweet (above) with him as the movement’s mascot, Pepe the frog.)

Obviously, the shameful notion of race based politics has become mainstream once again, despite – and perhaps partly because of – the election and reelection of America’s first black President.

And it is not just an American movement; it is global.

If ever there was a time for decent human beings to raise their voices – and cast their votes – against unmitigated evil, this has to be the time.

More about the Alt Right

More about eugenics


The Art of the Lie



There’s an old Jamaican joke that goes like this:

A couple asked their son what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he said he wanted to be a professional liar. So the couple sought out a legendary liar and apprenticed their son to him. 

As the liar and his apprentice were crossing a stream on their way to the liar’s home, the liar decided to give the kid a test. He pretended to step on a fish.

“I mash a fish!” he exclaimed.

Without missing a step, the kid replied: “I smell it!”

The liar decided then and there that he had nothing to teach the kid and took him back home.

Doesn’t Donald Trump remind you of that kid?

He lies so effortlessly, so naturally and so constantly that the media can’t fact check him fast enough.

And he doesn’t seem to care if everyone will know he’s lying.

He lied about the audience at that Flint church calling for the pastor to let him keep trash talking Hillary, for example. And he lied about the pastor being “a nervous mess.”

Yet he must have known we would all be looking at the video while he was shown telling the lies on TV.

Now he’s saying it was Hillary who started the crazy story about President Obama being born in Kenya.  And he must know there are ample records to prove that Hillary did no such thing.

Trump scatters misinformation with the easy fluency of a practiced liar. Just about everything he says turns out to be false. I’m beginning to wonder if his name really is Donald Trump.


Not Another Shutdown!



It barely makes the news these days when the Republicans threaten to shut down the US Government. For reasons that escape me, the crazies in Congress think they can get their own way by cutting off all government spending.

The childish tactic has backfired in the past, and it’s sure to backfire again but that doesn’t seem to register with them. Like Charlie Brown trying to kick that football, they keep doing the same old thing.

This time, the problem isn’t disagreement between Republicans and Democrats. The stand-off is between Republicans and Republicans. Apparently, some Republicans don’t want to fund the fight against the Zika virus if it means letting Planned Parenthood administer some of the money.

Yes, there are people who would hold the health and safety of millions hostage just to spite a group they disagree with. And some of those people are in Congress.

How is that for a “basket of deplorables”?

You might think that shutting down the government just days before a general election would be a sure way to lose. If Americans should have learned one thing, it’s how damaging and senseless these shutdowns are. A previous shutdown ruined Uncle Sam’s credit and cost taxpayers billions.

But perhaps the voters have forgotten.

The media are so obsessed with imagined crises that a lot of voters probably have other issues on their minds (preserving white privilege, battling the immigrant threat, banning Muslims, hating gays, and regulating whatever goes on in people’s bedrooms, for instance).

When the media fail like this, democracy is in trouble. It becomes impossible to maintain efficient government and preserve a healthy society.

More on the impending shutdown